The vision of UW as a sustainable community is complex, and must be all encompassing. The following will briefly detail some components of a sustainable campus as they relate to: waste, transportation, land maintenance, education, community involvement, water, and energy. As well, indicators for sustainability are discussed.

Characteristics of a Sustainable UW:


The overall goal is to reduce the amount of material inputs to campus systems.


The ideal campus would not include vehicles, but rather biking and walking are promoted as alternative modes of transport. This would greatly decrease noise and air pollution, and roads and parking facilities could be used for other, more sustainable purposes.


The preferred type of land on campus would be naturalized or low-maintenance. When compared to the costly and wasteful maintenance that manicured lawns require, it can be seen that naturalized land is more sustainable.


It is crucial to involve all faculties in the greening of the campus. Students and staff would share a common vision of sustainability. This would contribute unique and refreshing ideas to achieve the goal of sustainability more effectively and efficiently.


Since UW is a part of the larger Kitchener-Waterloo community, it is important that we are actively involved in community events, and contribute as much as possible to the sustainability of the region. This can be achieved by setting an example/piloting projects for the larger community.


On the sustainable UW campus, water and energy consumption would be very low due to the utilization of various technologies such as low-flow shower heads and toilets. Also, plants and natural lighting would provide students and faculty with a more pleasant atmosphere for learning.

Indicators of Sustainability:

It is important to note that sustainability is not an endpoint, but rather it is an on-going process which is always changing. It is not a static state to be attained, but rather a cyclical, dynamic pattern of learning and implementation.

The Present and the Future

The vision of a sustainable UW is entirely different from what presently exists. All university policies and practices would take the environment into account, and recognize the need for sustainability. Environmental concepts would be instilled into all that is done rather than being reconsiderations or "after-thoughts" once a problem has already occurred. Environmental ideals would be an integral part of policy decisions, and programs, thus foreseeing and possibly preventing environmental problems. Student attitudes towards the environment would be more positive and prevalent through their actions and thoughts. Students would not be as wasteful and consumptive with the resources and an active role would be taken in various environmental initiatives. Environmental actions would be viewed as routine, and not extraordinary chores to be performed only when problems arise. The reputation of the university would be one of environmental health and well being at the community level as well as the campus level.

Last updated May 28, 1997 jmb